Levesque challenging Scanlan for NH Secretary of State

  • State Sen. Melanie Levesque addresses the chamber during debate in 2019. Levesque says the right to vote is under attack in New Hampshire. AP file

  • David Scanlan served two decades under Bill Gardner before taking over as Secretary of State. Monitor file

For the Monitor
Published: 11/18/2022 12:27:02 PM

After losing her second straight election to Republican Kevin Avard, former state Sen. Melanie Levesque is running again – this time for New Hampshire Secretary of State.

Levesque announced this week that she would challenge Republican incumbent David Scanlan when the Legislature votes to elect the next Secretary of State when it convenes on Dec. 7.

“It is no secret. Over the past decade in New Hampshire, our sacred right — the right to vote — has been under attack,” Levesque said in a statement. “I am proud to be running for Secretary of State to protect our voters from these attacks and make critical reforms to this office to better serve Granite Staters.”

Scanlan took over in January when longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner retired. Scanlan, a former state representative, served as a deputy Secretary of State under Gardner for 20 years.

“We have a long and significant list of accomplishments and improvements during that time frame, culminating in a smooth and successful midterm election that had record turnout,” Scanlan wrote in an email. “I will run on that record any day of the week!”

Gardner, the nation’s longest-serving secretary of state, had faced little or no competition for his job, aside from 2018, when he defeated former gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern by just four votes. But in recent years, he came under fire from fellow Democrats for his participation in former President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud, and both he and Scanlan were criticized for backing GOP legislation to tighten voter registration rules.

Levesque, who served multiple terms in the state House of Representatives, made history in 2018 when she narrowly defeated Avard to become the first Black person elected to the state Senate. She lost her 2020 re-election to Avard by a razor-thin margin. She served as a New Hampshire Democratic Party senior adviser until March.

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